Chemotherapy for secondary cancer in the liver

Chemotherapy uses anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells. The drugs work by disrupting the way cancer cells grow and divide, but they also affect normal cells. Chemotherapy is a common treatment for secondary cancer in the liver.

Whether you have chemotherapy and which chemotherapy drugs are used will depend on where your cancer started in the body (the primary). For example, if you have breast cancer that has spread to the liver, you’ll have chemotherapy drugs that are used to treat breast cancer.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to completely cure secondary liver cancer with chemotherapy. However, it may slow or stop the growth of the cancer, and may shrink it and help relieve symptoms.

Chemotherapy may also be used to shrink secondary liver tumours so they can be removed by surgery. It’s sometimes also used after surgery to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back.

Back to Chemotherapy explained

When is chemotherapy used?

Chemotherapy is used to kill cancer cells in the body. Your doctor will explain if chemotherapy is advised for you.

How do chemotherapy drugs work?

Chemotherapy drugs work by stopping cancer cells reproducing. The drugs can also affect healthy cells, causing side effects.